|THE tenth annual Dynamites awards last night celebrated the region’s tech superstars and rising stars.
The Dynamites23 Awards attracted almost 450 attendees and more than 120 entries across 12 award categories.
This year’s awards were hosted by comedian Suzi Ruffell and, as ever, were organised by Dynamo, the region’s industry-led tech network. The tenth annual awards were held in Newcastle Civic Centre’s Banqueting Hall and sponsored by Nigel Wright Recruitment.
In her welcoming speech Chair of Judges Charlie MacDowall, Engagement Director at Monstar Lab, said: “I have been so excited to see how much the digital ecosystem has developed in such a short space of time. From companies like ourselves at Monstarlabs and others like Arctic Wolf, Version 1, Credera choosing to set up here, to the amazing home-grown start-ups like Opencast, SPG, Serios Group and WordNerds, to organisations like Sage, NHS BSA and Greggs looking to innovate in their sectors, the opportunities being created here every day are vast.”
Ben Denham, from sponsors Nigel Wright Recruitment, also gave a welcome speech and referred to the origins of their business, established 35 years ago in Newcastle.
There was a wide spread of winners, with tech companies large and small scooping awards, as well as organisations with IT departments.
The first winner of the evening was Opencast, a Newcastle tech company, who won the Equality, Diversity, & Inclusion Award. Later in the evening Opencast also won the Growth Explosion Award, for the second consecutive year.
Tom Lawson, Chief Executive of Opencast said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have won two Dynamites23 awards. I’m immensely proud of the whole Opencast team for our award wins. It is brilliant news to have our team’s efforts on equality, diversity and inclusion recognised as it is an absolute priority at Opencast.
“It’s also amazing to have our growth recognised by Dynamo for a second year running. It has been another stand-out year for the Opencast business, despite challenging market conditions.
“We want to accelerate our growth even faster in the coming year – and are aiming to be a £100m+ revenue, 1000-person business by 2026, hiring new people in more locations and opening more offices across the UK.”
Phil Jackman, founder of CyberNorth, was a popular winner of the Tech Champion Award. Phil said: “I’m thrilled to have won the award, but it’s really for the whole CyberNorth team and not just me.
“It’s recognition of the important work we’ve been doing in the region since 2018. Our work with companies and in education is making a real contribution to our amazing tech sector.”
Uffa Modey, a young software developer at hedgehog lab, had a particularly good night, winning both the Rising Star category and the People’s Choice Award. Uffa said: “I’ve had such an exciting and amazing night and I’m so proud to have won two awards. The whole experience has been wonderful and I’m grateful to the judges and the organisers.”
The Dynamites23 award winners were:
· Best Use of Data (Sponsored by Invest Newcastle) – Wordnerds
· Equality, Diversity, & Inclusion (Sponsored by Gateshead College) – Opencast
· Growth Explosion (Sponsored by LDC) – Opencast
· Innovator of the Year (Sponsored by Raymond James, Monument) – Oliver Wyman
· Project of the Year (Sponsored by Oliver Wyman) – Kinewell Energy
· International Success (Sponsored by Leighton) – Oliver Wyman
· Rising Star (Sponsored by NEBRC) – Uffa Modey, hedgehog lab
· Skills Developer (Sponsored by Sage) – Gateshead College
· Sustainability in Tech (Sponsored by BJSS) – NBS
· Tech for Good (Sponsored by Tombola) – Paul McMurray, Donation Genie
· Tech Champion (Sponsored by Nigel Wright Recruitment) – Phil Jackman, CyberNorth
· High Commended
· Best Use of Data – NHS Business Services Authority
· Growth Explosion – Solution Performance Group
· Project of the Year – Greggs PLC
· Sustainability in Tech – Kinewell Energy
· Tech for Good – XR Therapeutics
· People’s Choice Award – Uffa Modey, hedgehog lab
David Dunn, CEO at Dynamo, said: “The Dynamites Awards are the perfect way to celebrate and promote our sector, which continues to exceed even our own expectations. The awards are a reminder of how many innovative, ambitious and successful tech companies we have in the north east, and the talent within those companies and organisations.
“As the sector and the number of people it employs grows, tech is becoming more and more important to the regional economy and the Dynamites help to shout about our successes. I’d like to warmly congratulate all our finalists and winners – they’re making a huge contribution to our buoyant, confident sector.”
Sarah Thackray, Director at award organisers BeaconHouse Events added: “It’s been great to see the awards evolve over the past ten years. They’re now a really important date in the regional tech calendar – and the Dynamites are always a terrific night of fun, pride and celebration.”
Dynamo split the judging of this year’s awards into category panels which created long lists to put to the main judging panel. The main judging panel consisted of Judging Chair Charlie MacDowall; Chris Dresser, Managing Consultant at Nigel Wright Recruitment; Dylan McKee, Co-founder and CEO at Nebula Labs; Jill McKinney, Director, Dynamo; Dawn Dunn, Digital and Tech Sector Lead at Invest Newcastle; Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive at Education Partnership North East; Graeme Fletcher, Director of Technology and Engineering at Mkodo; James Holmes, Director of Projects, Lanchester Wines; Nathanial Ray from NKRay Consulting, and Ruth Plater, CEO and Founder at Radial Path.